Author Topic: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game  (Read 35221 times)

Offline desertman

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Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« on: July 05, 2009, 03:36:36 PM »
In the next year or so I'm planning to buy a rifle for medium size game (javelina, deer etc). I live in southern AZ and plan to hunt predominately in the Southwest.  I've asked everyone I know what the ideal rifle caliber would be. As you may expect, I've received some rather diverse responses.  First I was planning to go with the 308 then I learned that the power and range wasn't as good as my second choice, the 30-06.  I have since been advised of the advantages of .300 Weatherby, 7mm and .270.  I do not have enough experience to accurately assess these endorsements.  My gut instinct is that many of these calibers are more alike than different.  I really appreciate any insights you may have.

Hare of Caerbannog

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2009, 04:55:34 PM »
What kind of price range are you looking at?

Offline desertman

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 08:35:25 PM »
Less than $750 is preferable.

Offline khristopher23

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 08:57:22 PM »
I own the .06, but if I had it to do over again, I would probably pick the .308 primarily because I also want a .308 "assault" rifle (a SOCOM 16), and that would make one less caliber of ammo I would have to buy. In the .308, you can get a bolt action for longer shots, a semi auto or pump for hunting more in brush country, and something like a FAL or M1A for a MBR type weapon if you're in to that sort of thing. That's a whole lot of versatility for one caliber IMO. You can almost do the same with the .06, but then you are more limited in the "assault" rifle category to something like an M1 Garand. Both have there good points.

For more on the .06 vs .308 debate, check out this thread.
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=220.0

                                                                 -Chris

Hare of Caerbannog

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 08:58:46 PM »
I'm a bit biased on the topic and a lot of others will have better advice than me, but I have an old Mauser 98 with a modern stock and an average scope. I built the set up myself and I'm no gunsmith.
I spent $40 for the Mauser. (I think they are about double that now)
I spent about $20 on a bent bolt handle on eBay. (the bent ones are better than the cut/screwed ones)
I spent about $100 on the stock and used a Dremel tool to fit it to the barrel.
I spent less than $100 on the scope.
Ammo was all purchased several years ago so I have about 3K rounds that I spent maybe $150 on. (8mm)
So for about $410 including ammo, I have a rifle that I can take down any average size mammal out to about 1000 yards.
All that and I got a free German bayonet in the deal.

 :)

philw

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2009, 09:17:40 PM »
308,   you can not go past that,  it is such a proven round.


if you want something a little different  then also look at the .270wsm,   a very good round for deer as well

Goatdog62

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2009, 10:36:46 PM »
Like Khris23 and Philw said...the .308 for reasons already stated.

Offline punkin

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2009, 07:14:17 PM »
In my expierience,  For a good all around gun,  I love the .243.  Ive taken numerous deer and boar with my single shot .243.  I have a .308 and a 30.06 and love them both but for a good, low cost rifle for my area that my wife isnt scared to shoot,  I love my H&R.243. 

Its great for my area too because the longest shot in the deer woods that you routinely come across is inside of 80 yards.   Just my .02 cents

Offline Cave Dweller

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 08:26:26 PM »
Southern AZ,
Sounds like you're surrounded by open spaces.
Most places I'd recommend the good old 762x39, good on white tail deer down to large rabbits in the intermediate ranges most hunters find themselves in. Good defensive round too.
But the long shots you might have to take leave that out.
I figure these folks have a lot more experience than I do.
I'm sure many of these "high power" cartridges can be reloaded for lower velocities if you need to take small game.
Then again, reloading my own ammo is still on my "to do list"

If you're only interested in raw power and range, I'd suggest one of these
http://www.barrettrifles.com/rifle_82.aspx
Loaded with these
http://www.maadigriffin.com/sabots.htm
Of course you'll be eating deer soup, but, hey! Fun is fun! ;D

Offline Sid

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2009, 10:15:48 PM »
For some design reason, the .308 cartridge is more accurate than the 30.06, so I have read.  This is why after WWII people switched to .308 for matches, since .308 consistently beat 30.06.

Both have a diameter of .308.  They both come in similar or the same weight bullets.  The muzzle velocity of 30.06 at standard loads is just a little better, maybe 5%, but you can hot load .308's if you want more.

I think 30.06 is a little cheaper for standard hunting ammo.  And all through this ammo panic, I have been able to find 30.06, but not .308 since people apparently are picking up .308 to feed their semi-auto black rifles.

The one thing I do like better about .308 is that there are several heavy barrel rifles available out of the box, while if you want a 30.06 heavy barrel, you have to go to the hassle and expense of getting a custom job.  Heavy barrels mean better accuracy as the barrel does not heat up as quickly as a standard barrel, plus it is more rigid, hence less vibration.

If you step up to something like 300 Magnum then you are getting higher muzzle and terminal velocity, hence better range, but you are talking about a very significant increase in ammo cost.  My neighbor took a deer at 500 yds. with one, and that was with a cheap scope.

I have two Remington 700's in 30.06, one low end and one high end, and I find them more than adequate; hell, I think 30-30 is great also, although it wouldn't do well for 300-400 yd. shots in the terrain you mentioned like 30.06 and .308 would. 

Right now I have my eye on the new savage 10FCP-k in .308 which has a heavy barrel that is fluted, (comes with a bipod, accu-trigger, detachable 4 shot magazines and a precision stock) for about $800.  I am not sure that it will shoot much better than my Remington 700's if at all, but I guess I have the impression that the black stock, fluted barrel, and bipod make it look more dangerous if ever I need it for TEOTWAWKI defense.

What ever you choose, I bet you are very pleased.   

Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2009, 07:52:17 PM »
One thing to remember is you can get a chamber adapter to go from 30-06 to 308 if needed. You can't go back up. Also, there is a wider array of loads for the 30-06 and just about every old hardware store will have a box or two of 30-06 and 30-30

Offline Taltoz

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2009, 01:47:05 PM »
I am a fan of the .270. Mine has never let me down.

Himarker

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2009, 09:31:58 PM »
 Up here in AK, I am a big fan of the 300 win mag.  You can shoot form caribou up to moose and have and adequate gun for Mr. Fuzzy (bears) if he decides to visit  you.  Lot of folks still carry the 30-06 up here but I am little more trusting of calibres with the work magnum following them if I run into Mr. Fuzzy.


Offline khristopher23

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2009, 03:53:56 PM »
Up here in AK, I am a big fan of the 300 win mag.  You can shoot form caribou up to moose and have and adequate gun for Mr. Fuzzy (bears) if he decides to visit  you.  Lot of folks still carry the 30-06 up here but I am little more trusting of calibres with the work magnum following them if I run into Mr. Fuzzy.



I've always heard you could probably take almost any game animal anywhere in the world safely and humanely with an '06, but if I lived in Alaska or Africa, I believe I would opt for a magnum as well. I wouldn't feel unsafe with a 30.06, I would just feel a little better with something a little bigger.

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2009, 03:05:39 PM »
My view is if a 30 cal is sufficient then an 06 is perfect and on the original post it would be very hard to beat.  The reality is there ain't a hill of beans in difference between the 08 and the 06 in the real world.  I stick to the 06 based on its history and undeniable class.  If you own a 308 assault rifle then I would go with that.  Just like if you own a Garand then go with the 06 but in the end the deer or elk shot with either won't know the difference trust me.

Now on Griz and such, I would not want to rely on a 30 cal for either if I had my choice.  But faster ain't cutting it for me I would say think bigger holes when it comes to changing a brown bears mind about turning you into compost.  338-06, 35 Whelen, 375 H&H, 338 Win Mag, etc. is what I would look to in Alaska or anywhere Mr. Griz might come calling.  

Personally though on the OP go with the 08 or 06, both will put you in Ammo in any sporting goods store in the country, both are proven and both can can probably shoot as far as you can.

Offline donaldj

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2009, 04:12:23 PM »
I chose 7.62x39mm as my hunting round and my "battle rifle" round. I felt having common ammo types was important.

I have an old SKS I plan to use hunting, and have in the past, and am looking to get an AK47 or that Ruger Mini-30 (I think?) as a battle rifle.  The SKS could, of course, be pressed into service as a battle rifle.

I need more funds.  =)

D

Offline vicious

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2009, 04:52:17 PM »
I chose 7.62x39mm as my hunting round and my "battle rifle" round. I felt having common ammo types was important.

I have an old SKS I plan to use hunting, and have in the past, and am looking to get an AK47 or that Ruger Mini-30 (I think?) as a battle rifle.  The SKS could, of course, be pressed into service as a battle rifle.


This is something I have been thinking about myself. I currently have an AK-variant that I absolutely love, but it's more taticool. I also have a Norinco SKS, that I believe I can coerce into shooting reliably up to 300 yards. Anything beyond that would be a positive, but in the real world I think that would be beyond optimistic. In anycase, I try to limit my rounds to just a couple, and think it's a wise choice for a hunting variant. If I could find a saiga for the prices they were at 2 years ago, I'd definitely pick one of them up and leave it in the hunting configuration.

Offline pug-shadow

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2009, 07:15:14 PM »
What is a good starting hunting rifle?

It sounds like the 30-06 might be

My wife and I are considering buying rural land in Arkansas maybe up by Fayetteville.

I think they mostly have deer there, but maybe bears as well.
We are just starting our research.

I thought it might be nice to get my hunting skills up so if we find a piece of property I can use it for hunting while we work on it.
I am also highly interested in the permaculture that Jack mentions on the podcasts and I think that would also help in attracting hunting game.

thoughts?

chileverde

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2009, 08:08:11 PM »
I am also in S. AZ. I currently use a 30-06 for most of my hunting. Others I know use .308 and .270.  All work equally well but I like the .30-60 because I occasionally get drawn for elk.

Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2009, 09:20:57 PM »
Depends on your needs.  If you want pure performance and are willing to do a little reloading, I am a HUGE fan of the 7mm Remington Magnum, or it's little brother, the 7mm-08.  They are available into similar bullet weights as the 30s, are faster from less powder, and the trajectory is very flat.  They pack a mean punch at distance, especially the Rem Mag.

For cost and availability, the .308 is hard to beat.  .30-06 is another great choice, and I actually do prefer it to the .308.  What can I say, .30-06 was the grandfather of all American sniper cartridges, and the history of it holds a place in my heart.  If you reload, the .300 Win Mag offers even higher performance with the same diameter bullet.  If you already own a .30 cal rifle and reload, you can store one type of bullet for both guns.

For another classic, the .270 Winchester shouldn't be overlooked.  It's a .30-06 necked don to take a 6.8mm bullet.  Very fast, very flat, and very capable at all reasonable ranges.  And I see it a lot of places.  Very available commercially.

If the biggest you are going to is deer, the .22-250 is a good choice, and makes an excellent varmint round as well.  A friend of mine took his first deer with a .22-250.

I'd avoid any Ultra Mags, SAUMs, or other ridiculously fast rounds.   The powder burn and friction produced is highly detrimental to barrel wear.  They just burn out WAY too fast.

IF you foresee long range hunting usage, I'd recommend the 7mm Rem Mag.  If you want to do that with a more common round, .30-06 is hard to beat.

OH! And before I forget, if you want to do it relatively cheaply, don't overlook 7.62x54R.  Like a beefier Rimmed .308.  It is the longest running military cartridge in the world, having been adopted by Russia in 1891 (IIRC) and still being used to this day.  Milsurp can be had for a song, as can many soft point loads.

IdahoJohn

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2009, 03:18:53 PM »
That's like asking what's the best truck.  Everyone has their personal preference and I believe any of the calibers state will do fine for medium game.  I personally believe you're best off with a 30 cal of some sort.  Beyond that, it's a lot of personal preference.  If you can, try them out and see what you like.

I have a Thompson Center in .223 and .243.  I love the TC because once you get past the initial purchase of about $650, you can pick up another barrel in a difference caliber for around $300.  I've been strongly considering getting a barrel in 300 win mag or 338 win mag for the bigger stuff (probably next year).

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2009, 07:51:53 PM »
You will get a million opinions but anything from 243 to 45-70 will do the job.  If I am forced to pick specific rounds I go back to the magic and moderate formula,

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=69.0

Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2009, 06:18:52 AM »
Well if  your still looking for a deer gun I will give you a heads up. A good friend and myself just purchased from Dicks Sporting Goods some of the Remington mod. 700SPS Varmint rifles. With rebates the final cost was $440.00 .  They come in several calibers up to 308.  We picked up a 223 and a 308.
The kicker was they carry a run that comes with a green stock and a 4-12 scope included.
http://www.Remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire_rifles/model_700/model_700_SPS_varmint_specs.asp

Offline YOOJ

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2010, 10:16:38 PM »
I think you'd be well served with almost any of the rounds you mentioned.  30-06 or .270 in particular.  Although my personal preference is for a .270 I might steer someone looking for a one size fits all rifle toward a 30-06.  Actually, I could steer you towards a savage bolt rifle and a couple extra barrels in .270 and .25-06, since they are the same parent case, and savage rifles can be barrel swapped with some fairly basic tools and headspaced off of a fired case.  Look into savage barrel swaps if that's something you're interested in.

In any of the calibers you mentioned, you can pretty much hunt just about anything you'll find in the US.  If I were carrying any of those in grizzly country, I'd opt for sturdier bullets more than just larger case capacity.  Soft lead is not going to penetrate as much as harder lead alloys and thicker jackets, or solid copper.  Barnes TSX's or winchester XP3's would be good choices.  With the '06 you have such a wide range of bullet choices and a case capcity between the .308 and 300 win mag, with a longer useable barrel life than the .300 win mag.  The .300 weatherby mag you mentioned would be my least favorite choice, for the scarcity and price of factory ammo, the cost and availability of brass, and the wear and tear on your barrel (and shoulder)

My .270 has taken everything from the little columbia white tailed deer on my property here in oregon, to elk, to 650 lb feral hogs - two hogs, two shots dead right there with win xp3's.  They were delicious by the way. The hogs, not the bullets.  Nothing like some feral hog bacon to add to those beans in your preps....

Stay with any of the medium 7mm to .30 cal rounds and you're good to go.  I would certainly stay with something more on the common side though, as brass and components for .308 or 30-06 is sure easier to come by than WSM  or weatherby brass

Offline YOOJ

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2010, 10:27:53 PM »
I've always heard you could probably take almost any game animal anywhere in the world safely and humanely with an '06, but if I lived in Alaska or Africa, I believe I would opt for a magnum as well. I wouldn't feel unsafe with a 30.06, I would just feel a little better with something a little bigger.

I fish in Alaska every other year or so and have had plenty of close encounters (none of them aggressive) with brown bears.  The closest was one that came down the trail on the opposite side of the river me where I was wading.  The river was about 35 yards wide and I was about 10-15 yards from the near side bank.  He was just curious.  But four legged dangers are certainly a reality.  I would feel just fine with any caliber mentioned with the right bullets in it, but in bear country it's glock 23 on the hip and a winchester 1300 defender on the shoulder with 2 rounds of 00 buck in front of 6 solid copper slugs.  The glock is in case the shotgun fails so I don't have to feel what it's like to be eaten.

Not that I'm not confident with any of those rounds against a bear, I just want more than one shot at a bear that can cover than distance in three steps and faster than I can soil myself.


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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2010, 12:08:41 AM »
Probably the best CXP2 class game rifle cartridge out there is also one of the most under appreciated - the .260 Remington with the 6.5 x 55 Swede a close second.  Shot placement is more important than horsepower, so it stands to reason that a light kicking rifle / cartridge combination is conducive to hitting the vitals of deer sized game consistently.  From an exterior ballistics point of view, the 6.5 mm bullets give more bang for the buck than other calibers.  They really travel far and flat. A 140 grain 6.5mm has a higher SD than a 180 grain .30 caliber bullet.  You get flat trajectory, deep penetration and all with low felt recoil.  The 30-06 has a free recoil of around 23 lb-ft; whereas, the .260 Remington runs about 16-17 lb-ft free recoil.  I have and use several .260 Remington rifles.  My Remington M700 LSS Mountain Rifle groups three shots between 5/16 inch to 3/4 inch at 100 yards depending on how much coffee I've drunk.  The load is a 6.5 mm 140 grain Nosler Partitian over 43 grains of IMR 4350.  I have a second load specifically for my Ruger M77 Compact based on the 6.5mm 120 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip and Varget powder (burns more efficiently in the 16 inch barrel...this load is a whitetail grenade.)  Interestingly enough, the short barrel is very accurate because it is stiffer. The .260 is not far behind the venerable .270 Win, but with a heaver bullet.  I have rifles chambered from .223 Rem, 30-30, .338, 30-06, 7.62x39, 38-55,  all the way up to a Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70 Government (Loaded with Garrett Hammer Heads) but the .260 is my main go-to cartridge for CXP2 class game.

Offline bsmith_shoot

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2010, 09:42:26 PM »
I am a fan of the venerable old 30-30 winchester. There have been more whitetail taken with this round, in the states, than any other cartridge. I have a personal affinity for the marlin 336, but my dad swears by the winchester model 94. Either way you go, you will be able to slay medium sized game.

Offline jimmysig

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2010, 06:39:28 AM »
Any opinions on the 300 RUM?

I like the idea of the 3 grain types one can use.

I read that Magnums wear out barrels quickly. Is this fact or speculation?

I also believe that sometimes people are hesitant to accept technological advancement or change. If there is anyone who actually uses 300 RUM, I would love to hear about it.   

Offline The Sage of Monticello

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2010, 12:20:17 PM »
My Dad has a .264 rifle but it is rare to find his ammo in the store and it's expensive online. He relies on reloading.

I am waiting for my .308 rifle to come in for hunting next winter. When it does I'll post pictures as shipping has been delayed due to inclement weather.

I decided going for a .308 based on it's history of success and availability. I have never reloaded rifle ammo (just handgun) so I may wait to get with my brother-in-law who does have experience and make sure I do it right.

I enjoyed Jack's podcast 380. It's basically subjective within a range of choices for medium size game. Good luck.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Ideal rifle caliber for medium size game
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2010, 08:12:43 PM »
Any opinions on the 300 RUM?

I like the idea of the 3 grain types one can use.

I read that Magnums wear out barrels quickly. Is this fact or speculation?

I also believe that sometimes people are hesitant to accept technological advancement or change. If there is anyone who actually uses 300 RUM, I would love to hear about it.   

Don't have one, would not want one. This is a slightly lower capacity 30-378, which is a limited application cartridge in my book. very fast, high capacity rounds like this will shoot out a barrel quicker than something milder. Compare 223 vs 22-250, as an example. I imagine 300RUM ammunition is very pricey, if you can find it. Other fast, expensive rounds include the 7mmSTW, .338 Lapua...

308/30-06 work for any NA game. In my book, 375HH is the big game round. If what I am hunting requires a round with a .4xx caliber, I would prefer a crew served weapon.